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U.S. airports as (undesirable) zoos

Kosse, M.J. (2017) U.S. airports as (undesirable) zoos. Master's Thesis / Essay, Science Education and Communication.

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Aircraft collisions with wildlife are a serious economic and safety problem worldwide. According to the FAA National Wildlife Strike Database, the number of reported strikes with U.S. civil aviation has increased from 1,847 in 1990 to a record of 13,795 strikes in 2015. This increase in wildlife strikes is primarily associated with an increase in air traffic. To decrease the economic and safety problem of aircraft collisions with wildlife, it is important to explore how wildlife hazards in aviation can be reduced. The aim of this study is to examine (1) what attracts wildlife on and near U.S. airports, (2) which hazardous wildlife species live on and near U.S. airports, and (3) how wildlife strikes can be prevented. Airports are often attractive to wildlife because airport habitats provide them their three primary needs: food, water and shelter. According to the FAA National Wildlife Strike database, the most hazardous species of U.S. civil aircraft are the Canada goose (Branta Canadensis), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), snow goose (Chen Caerulescens), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). The hazardous of wildlife can be determined by the probability of strikes happening again in the future and the severity of the strikes. The severity depends on the body mass and flocking behaviour of the species. The probability depends on the location, season and time of day. Wildlife strikes can be reduced by habitat modification. For example modification of water resources, grassland, agriculture and the placement of fences. Mammals can be excluded by fences, but the ability of birds to fly makes excluding them very tough. Active repellents in terms of auditory repellents, visual repellents and chemical repellents are used to reduce bird strikes. In conclusion, to reduce wildlife strikes in aviation effectively it is recommended to locally determine the attractors of hazardous wildlife on and near specific airports, identify the hazardous species, and carefully consider the methods to control their presence. To obtain reliable and precise results a local reporting plan needs to be initiated in order to generate a comprehensive database.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Science Education and Communication
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:31

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